Website auctions off items from police evidence room

Part of profits go back to police departments

CHULA VISTA, Calif. - Online shoppers are getting a steal on stolen goods and it's all legal.

The website PropertyRoom.com offers shoppers an experience similar to eBay. But the items being sold have all been collected from police evidence rooms.

Around 3,000 departments are using the website and receive a chunk of the profits. The Chula Vista Police Department is one agency using the website, according to Team 10 Troubleshooter Cristin Severance.

"It's like Christmas, you never know what's going to come in or what's in the garage waiting for us," said Chula Vista Property and Evidence Specialist Christina Garcia.

Garcia is the "keeper" of the 10,000-square-foot warehouse at the Chula Vista Police Department.

"Guns, drugs, money, swords basically anything you can think of we have in our warehouse," she said.

It's all evidence or stolen and found property. Annually, 30,000 items come into the department.

"And we try to get rid of that if not more a year," she said.

Through the website, the department can sell the items, ranging from computers to jewelry.

Garcia said the items in the evidence room can be sold after cases close and after 60 to 90 days pass.

Once the items are sent to PropertyRoom.com and posted online, shoppers are able to bid on them. All items start at $1.

"If not that many people are bidding on it then you can get like a diamond ring for $200," she said.

The site is a win-win both for conscious consumers and police departments. Law enforcement agencies receive 50 percent of the profits from the sales.

"We get some good money for a lot of the stuff we send through," said Garcia.

Chula Vista, for example, received $12,000 from the site in 2011.

Garcia said the more shoppers go to the site, the more money goes into the general fund of police departments.

"The more people we get to bid then it benefits our department and the other departments that use the site," she said.

Garcia said some police departments in San Diego County still do auctions offline, which takes more time and money.

She said she's trying to convince those departments to use the website.

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